Time To End $122 Billion In Taxpayer Handouts To Fossil Fuels

Written by Mike G

Topics: Coal, Oil

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Time for the sun to set on the age of oil.

Say you live next door to a polluting factory that is poisoning you and your family, and you decide to stop buying whatever that factory makes, voting for alternatives with your dollar. How would you feel if the owners of that factory then went and bought off as many politicians as possible so that they could get policies in place that would keep alternatives to their product from ever making it to market?

You’d be outraged, right?

Now imagine if, on top of all that, you were forced to pay money to subsidize that factory’s business operations even though it was making record profits.

Intolerable, you say?

You’re damn right. Yet that’s exactly the scenario we’re in right now. Big Oil is making obscene profits and using them to pervert our democracy in the oil industry’s favor, in an attempt to keep renewable energy out of the game as long as possible. Even worse, we’re handing the Big Oil companies $4 billion every year (though other estimates have put the number at between $78 and 150 billion) to pad their bottom line and keep us all hooked on their dirty fuel.

That’s why RAN joined with over 50 other leading environmental organizations to call for an end to some $122 billion in handout to fossil fuels industries over the next 10 years. Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – a.k.a. the “Super Committee” tasked with eliminating $1.5 trillion in federal debt – has the power to end these unnecessary subsidies once and for all. Read the letter we sent to Rep. Jeb Hensarling & Senator Patty Murray, co‐chairs of the Super Committee, here.

More from Oil Change International:

Coalition Calls for End to $122 billion in Handouts to Fossil Fuels

(Washington, DC – October 5, 2011) Today leaders of 52 national and state organizations sent a letter to the members of the Super Congress (formally known as the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) demanding that the elimination of government handouts to the oil, coal and gas industries be a central part of the deficit reduction plan they are to present to the full Congress by November 23rd.

Eliminating subsidies to the fossil fuels industry could reduce the national debt by $122 billion over ten years while bettering the environment and public health for America’s families these leaders asserted. “Americans of all political orientations strongly favor ending these subsidies to the oil, gas and coal industries” they wrote, adding that “[M]ost Americans feel that Members of Congress are more responsive to their campaign donors than their constituents. Working to remove subsidies from the fossil fuel industry is one of the clearest ways you can help restore your constituents’ faith in the ability of Congress to represent them.”

Fossil fuel corporations do not need federal handouts in order to produce energy. Over the last decade, the top five oil and gas companies alone reported over $1 trillion in profits, and another $71 billion in profits in just the first two quarters of 2011. Coal companies, which have received government aid for nearly a century, have seen their profits skyrocket in 2011. Peabody Energy, the largest private sector coal company, earned has already posted $461.3 million in profits in 2011. Consol Energy first quarter profits nearly doubled from 2010 to reach $192 million.

Read the full post over at Oil Change International’s site.

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